This is the first occasion I have had to wish you all a happy new year for 2024, and how time has flown! I joined the school in 2020 just after the outbreak of Covid and in that time, we’ve had a positive Ofsted, some of the best results Borden has ever achieved and our new build is very near completion. Whilst the ‘dark days of Covid’ now seem long gone, we had a recent spike in reported cases recently, with both staff and students being off ill. It’s in all our interests to try and prevent further spread of any illness (Covid or otherwise), so we continue to follow the guidance and a useful summary can be found here.
If you happen to drive down the Avenue of Remembrance you will see that our new building is looking close to completion. It even has our design on the side that links the school to the Avenue, which was based on ideas that came from student designs. We should receive handover of the building at or around the Easter holidays, but it will be some time until we are ‘fully in’ and the field still has to be re-turfed. It is exciting though and we are expecting to run a big opening event sometime in early July; more on this in due course. Internally, the plumbing and heating work is drawing to a close, although the pipework does make Borden look a little ‘steampunk’ at the moment…
On a less positive note, the national picture is one of increased intimidation and abuse of public sector workers, which unfortunately also includes teachers nationally. Whilst the vast majority of our interactions with parents are incredibly supportive, courteous and reasonable, suggested best practice is for us to have a ‘code of conduct’ for visitors and parents. Ours can be found on our website under policies (https://www.bordengrammar.kent.sch.uk/information/policies)
We had a very well attended year 9 options event in school this week, which really showed why the Borden building needs updating as there was standing room only. The plan is for the hall to become a dedicated eating space where we can try to create a bit more of a ‘food culture’ and the gym will then become our events and drama space. This is going to take time (and money) but we will get there. We are also in the process of costing what it will take to improve our gym toilets which, for anyone who has visited, will know is long overdue!
Finally, as we enter next term, spare a thought for year 11 and 13 who are winding up for their final exams and will very likely be busy revising over half term and the Easter holidays. If your child is in those year groups, please offer what support you can and contact us if we can do anything to help. We also have year 7 and 9 parents evenings soon, with information sent out shortly, and we look forward to seeing many more of you in person.
As always, thank you for your continued support, and I wish you all a safe and restful half term.
Ashley Tomlin Headteacher
Some words from our Heads of Years
It was lovely to welcome Year 7 back to Borden this new year. We were returning on a high from our successful charity Christmas fair and the return of 'Hot Chocolate Friday'! A few of our selected charities have sent emails and letters to thank the boys for their efforts and give an insight into how the money raised will be used.
This term we focused on reflection. The year group has worked closely with form tutors and their Year 10 form prefects to discuss what the audits actually mean, and we have gained their views and opinions on their performances. They all then set themselves some SMART targets which we will come back to later on in the academic year; after that, they then looked forward and predicted what their second audit would look like.
I'd like to give a special shout out to 7JLS who were victorious in the form competition once again this term. Well done JLS! They will be celebrating this achievement on Friday 23rd February with a non-school uniform day and sweet treats!
Year 7 will have a Parents' evening right at the start of term 4. It will be a lovely evening where staff, students and parents/guardians have the chance to meet and discuss the academic year so far.
Well done this term Year 7, it seems like just yesterday we were welcoming you to Borden, and now we are halfway through the academic year!
Have a lovely half term break. Miss Irinoye
Head of Year 7
Year 10 have had a busy start to the new year. Preparations continue for the Work Experience week in May and I am grateful for your support in sourcing placements and chasing up employers to complete the essential paperwork. As a year group we have been learning about Personal Finances in PD, alongside a focus on Kindness, one of our Borden Values, in form time. Homework Club on Wednesday and Thursday lunchtimes is now underway in H9 to support students in meeting deadlines. Our Year 10 form prefects continue to support the Year 7 students during registration and it is wonderful to see them taking the lead in form time activities. Please remember that equipment and uniform checks take place on Monday mornings and that every student should be wearing full uniform and equipped with stationery and uniform card, ready for the week ahead. Head of Year 10
Year 11 will be into their mock exams as soon as they are back after the half term break. It is likely that support and intervention groups may change as a result of analysis of these exam groups, so please look out for further emails regarding this after the exam period.
Also, a reminder that Year 11 students need to be dressed in full school uniform throughout their remaining time in lessons and will need to be in uniform for all of their exams. Head of Year 11
In January I took a small group of Year 10 and 11 who are interested in Careers in Construction to visit our new build and meet with some of the team there. One of the students, Sean said the following about his visit: "I went to the construction site a few weeks ago, and it was a fun and interesting experience. Once we got there, we got to talk to the site manager who showed us around, we also spoke to one of the electricians and a plumber. Hearing their stories was very interesting and inspiring for the future. We got to learn about everything they were doing
on-site and how they were doing it. It was a great experience and would recommend it for everyone." We also got to have a sneak-peek at the new classrooms and were also offered some valuable advice about routes into the industry.
Head of Careers
English Trip to Othello
On Tuesday, 6th Feb, twenty A Level English students enjoyed a modern and thrilling version of 'Othello' at the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe, London. This small theatre (capacity 340, but felt like half that) was ideal for such an intense tragedy. The play was transported from late 16th Century Venice and Cyprus to today's London. The Met Police's well-known issues with racism was cleverly exploited as a backdrop - Othello is a well-respected officer fighting drug gangs in The Docklands. There were some comical touches too, as Cassio was supposedly educated at Eton, not Florence and the hopelessly gullible Roderigo disguises himself as a Deliveroo rider! The students certainly enjoyed themselves and we hope it will help them with their exams. A smaller group of students will go to see the production in March.
Head of English
Grenfell Tower Poetry
In one of our Year 10 English classes, a poetry competition was held on the subject of Grenfell Tower. The students wrote some fantastic poems and below is one such example, written by Lucien Watts.
I still remember the day that they died,
The day that we lost them, when millions cried,
As they watched the flames fly up the buildin’,
So many taken, men, women and children.
It was a tragedy for all the ages,
They suffered and died like animals in cages,
And their blood still stains the hands of the rich,
But what villain to blame, we still don’t know which.
But we know that they left those people tied up and bound,
As their great mistake dragged them down to the ground.
But they still deny it, they run from reality,
Self-chosen blindness, it's madness, insanity.
Six years gone by and their stories still ring true,
Those families, their hearts, beaten black and blue.
I still remember the day that they died,
The day that we lost them, when millions cried.
But never forget, remember their names,
Don’t leave their stories behind, lost in the flames.
We hold them and their loved ones in heart and in mind,
Their stories and Britain’s are forever intertwined.
I still remember the day that they died,
The day that we lost them, when millions cried,
Always remember the day that they died,
The day that we lost them, when millions cried.
Chemistry trip to the Discovery Park
On 31st January, and due to last year's positive experiences from our previous Year 13 students, our current Year 13 Chemists spent the school day at The 'Community Lab' in Sandwich. This laboratory project is a collaboration between Discovery Park, Canterbury Christ Church University, Pfizer and educational charity STEM Learning, and aims to provide local schools with access to industrial-standard facilities and equipment normally out of reach in the classroom. This initiative forms part of a wider selection of activities aimed at encouraging young people to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related subjects in further education. Our Borden students carried out several investigative activities to identify different substances by combining a number of analytical strategies and laboratory techniques, including chemical tests, melting point apparatus, thin layer chromatography, liquid-liquid extraction, rotary evaporation, etc.. In addition, the students had access to sophisticated equipment to perform both Infra-red Spectroscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy analyses. Our Year 13 students were praised by staff at the Community Lab on their excellent laboratory skills and background knowledge, thus positively representing Borden and acting as brilliant ambassadors for the school. Our Year 13 Chemistry really enjoyed the day.
Please visit our website gallery for further photographs from the day.
Attendance reminders for Parents
If a student is unable to attend school, parents should report this on Edulink (Absence Reporting) before 8:00am. Calls should only be made to the school for absences if Edulink is unavailable.
If the school has not been notified for the reason of absence by 9.10am the absence will be unauthorised and will affect your child's attendance figures.
First day contact
For all students missing from school we will make first day contact to establish the reason for absence, this is to safeguard student welfare. We apologise if you receive more than one call or an additional call where you have attempted to contact us.
If your child is off school due to illness, medical evidence will be required for your child's absence.
If after 3 days of absence, your child has not been seen and contact has not been made with the school, we will make all reasonable enquiries to establish contact with parents/carers and the child, including making enquiries to known friends and wider family. In the event of an absence of three or more days without contact from the family, a home visit will be made to ascertain the safety and well- being of the child and in addition to the reason for absence from school.
Ten days absence
We have a legal duty to report the absence of any student who is absent without an explanation for 10 consecutive days. If the child is not seen and contact has not been established with the named parent/carer then the local authority is notified that the child is at risk of being missing from education (CME). The Education Welfare Officer will visit the last known address and alert key services to locate the child.
Frequent/Persistent Absence Procedures
We want to avoid absence wherever possible. If there are any issues preventing attendance please communicate with us. When absence first becomes a concern we will write to you to outline our concerns. The letters are designated by the Local Authority, so the tone can sometimes be harsh, however we are required to follow Local Authority guidance in this. If there are no improvements to attendance, we will invite you in for a meeting with the school to put an action plan in place. In the event of no change to attendance after this step, we have a duty to involve the Bexley Education Welfare Service.
There are 190 days in a school year, which leaves 175 days to spend time with the family, shopping, dentist appointments and other things. At Borden Grammar School, our attendance target is to achieve higher than 95%. Frequent absence can add up to a lot of missed learning time and can seriously disadvantage your child in adult life. How does your child compare?
Good attendance at school is essential for a child’s education and establishes a positive working ethos early in life. It has been proven by DfE studies that students who are absent from school do not reach their full potential when measured against their target grades and those that have a higher attendance percentage. Parents should bear this in mind when allowing their child to stay at home.
This has been a very busy term for both Music and Drama in school. This week, GCSE music students and a selection of year 9 students attended a performance of La Boheme at the Royal Opera House. For most of the students, this was their first time seeing an opera and a very interesting experience.
Students in orchestra have been rehearsing in preparation for the next concert and the drama group have auditioned for the end of year play. Congratulations to all those who auditioned and secured roles, Mrs. Falkingham and I very much enjoyed watching the auditions and we had a lot of very talented students to choose from.
Here is a student account of their first time seeing an Opera.
It was really cool. I liked the fact that it was split into different acts and the singers were very good. The set design was really interesting with different parts being wheeled on and off for different scenes. I liked being able to sit with friends and watch it and the storyline was easy to follow although the subtitles were challenging to watch at the same time as the stage. The ending was very powerful. Also, the ice cream in the interval was very good!
Frank Ripley visits Talksport radio show
Year 11 student Frank Ripley went on the Talksport Hawksbee and Jacobs radio show last month to talk about his invention of a sports bottle, designed for big gloved sports. Fraqua is the first bottle in the world that you can pick up while wearing boxing gloves. It’s also the first ever water bottle to obtain such accreditation from the International Boxing Association (IBA) and get a license.Whilst he was there he also beat Ricky Hatton's score on the boxing ball in the Talksport studio!
We have a large quantity of used, good quality uniform which is available to families of Borden Grammar students. Maybe your son has had a growth spurt and needs new trousers, or they've ripped their blazer. Just send us an email and we may be able to help: firstname.lastname@example.org
All enquiries are handled in the strictest confidence.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
The majority of students are now signed up for their online Duke of Edinburgh accounts and have started their volunteering, skills and physical sections of the award. The training day for the expedition will be held on the 26th March for Bronze level students (and any Silver level students who have not already completed the Bronze level). During this training day, students will receive guidance on expedition kit requirements for the expedition, map reading skills, how to cook on outdoor stoves and first aid. I would therefore recommend not purchasing kit until after this day as students will have a far better idea of what they will need after this and what can be borrowed. Further information will also be sent home to parents at this time.
Further dates to note for the future are listed below.
Silver Practice Expedition: Thursday 16th May - Saturday 18th May
Silver Assessed Expedition: Thursday 6th June - Saturday 8th June
Bronze Practice Expedition: Friday 17th May - Saturday 18th May
Silver Assessed Expedition: Friday 7th June - Saturday 8th June
At Borden Grammar School, we take bullying very seriously.
We are taking part in the United Against Bullying Plus research project at the moment, which is developing a new, nationwide programme to support with bullying behaviour (more details can be found here https://anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/aba-our-work/uabplus). Staff received whole-school training on this in October 2023, and all students took part in a term’s worth of activities focussed on bullying and protected characteristics. In a recent survey given to students, the vast majority believed ‘bullying is taken seriously’ that the school was a ‘safe place to be’.
Our anti-bullying policy can be found at the link below and on our website. The has been ratified by the United Against Bullying Team, and includes details of our approach to bullying, and how to report incidents.
If you have any concerns about bullying, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Head of Year, or email email@example.com and we will look into this.
Assistant Headteacher (KS4)
LIBF finance trip
The City of London is the place to be for students considering a career in banking and finance. This was a unique experience that provided students with a taste of what the area is like and a sense of what it might be like to work there.
Thirty-Five (35) Y13 Finance students visited the City of London, the heart of the financial hub in the UK. During the visit, they engaged in a walking tour of the ‘financial district', visiting key financial places such as The Royal Exchange, the Natwest Tower, Lloyds Insurance and the Bank of England. After the walking tour, and whilst at the offices of London Banking of Banking and Finance (LIBF) centre, students engaged in a careers and employability session, a degree programme presentation and an interactive quiz.
‘The key highlights of the trip were the tour of the monument and learning about the history of the City of London, the history of the Bank of England, and why it was formed. The key takeaway was the finance district that drives London.’ (Owen Davis)
The walking tour was interesting to see the majority of the financial sector in one area. We visited the Bank of England and the Fire of London monument.’ (Jemma Forman)
‘We viewed multiple monumental buildings, such as the Gherkin and the Fire of London Flame. The tour guide stated some interesting facts, such as the City of London is only 1 square mile. We also had a presentation about how getting a degree in finance can open up multiple opportunities across the industry.’ (Oliver Breaker)
Many thanks to Mrs Carter, Mrs Searle and Mr Lindo.
Our first recipients had the best attitude to learning grades for their first audit which the year group received last term!
Well done boys, most of them achieved only 1's and 2's for their Classwork, Class Behaviour and Homework - impressive
Hot Chocolate Friday will make another...
We are keeping an eye on the forecast following the snowy weather, it is very unlikely the school will close, but if this happens we will update our website immediately and send an Edulink email. Please make sure your child brings a coat!